News / Middle East

Arab League to Present Syria Plan to UN Security Council

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani (R) attend a meeting of the Committee of Arab Coordination in Doha (December 2011 file photo)
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani (R) attend a meeting of the Committee of Arab Coordination in Doha (December 2011 file photo)

Arab League officials announced Thursday that they will present a palm for resolving Syria's months-long unrest to the U.N. Security Council on Monday. Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces say government troops stormed the Damascus suburb of Douma in an attempt to crush rebel forces.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby says he and Qatar's prime minister will jointly ask the U.N. Security Council to endorse a League plan which calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to a deputy and form a national unity government to prepare for national elections. Syria has rejected the League plan.

Speaking in Cairo, Elaraby said he will depart for the U.N.'s New York headquarters on Saturday.

Violence continued Thursday in Syria.

Syrian government tanks and artillery pounded the Damascus suburb of Douma capturing it from rebel soldiers and arresting scores of people. Opposition websites also reported that government forces  attacked other suburbs of the capital.

A widespread government offensive against opposition strongholds in the cities of Hama, Homs and Idlib began Wednesday, amid reports of heavy resistance. Videos on opposition websites showed pocked walls and storefronts in Hama from government shelling.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says the Syrian government's latest military offensive is a sign of increasing desperation:

“The intensity of the uprising has kept increasing week after week. So I think the regime is desperate and the latest moves by the government to try to clamp on the opposition as soon as possible will backfire in my opinion. I assume that there will be more army defections as the result of the use of excessive firepower," Khashan said.

Joshua Landis, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma and edits the website “Syria Comment,” says that rebel soldiers calling themselves the “Free Syrian Army” are disorganized and unable to match the much stronger government forces:

“It's a bunch of little militias that have popped up in different towns and are taking no central orders. They call themselves the Free Syrian Army, but they're not coordinating their military efforts. If they were coordinating, they'd all rise up and fight the Syrian Army at once," Landis said.

The experts say the central government is progressively weakening as the opposition grows stronger.

Landis predicts Syria will see an increasingly sectarian conflict, one resembling the civil strife of recent years in Lebanon and Iraq. But in the short term, he says the Syrian opposition is “riven by dissension,” while the government enjoys weak support from those who fear civil war.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid